Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sweetwater Wetlands

Female Gila Woodpecker at her nest with a honeybee buzzing about.
Sweetwater Wetlands... "Sweetwater"?   Really?!  I'm not so sure. I damn near fell over in the parking lot when the first wave of smell hit me. Maybe a more accurate name would be Stinkwater.  I know all the birders in Tucson love this place but gee zippity people, nobody bothered to mention the smell! Though it is a good place to look at birds and it is fairly wheelchair accessible, it's not exactly a place where I would stop and have a picnic. And this was on a cool day in May. I can't imagine being here in the summertime.
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoniceus)
at Sweetwater Wetlands, Tucson, AZ, May 2011
The place was overtaken with Red-winged Blackbirds and their loud calls seemed to drown out all of the calls and songs of any other birds that might have been there. 
Mesquite bosque area bordering the parking lot
 at Sweetwater was hopping with birds and critters.
As often happens when you're out birding, the best show in town ended up being right by the parking lot.  A family of Gila Woodpecker's (top photo) had an active nest in the Saguaro right by the restrooms, and Cactus Wren and Abert's Towhees were hopping around everywhere along with cottontail bunnies. Desert Spiny and Zebra-tailed lizards were crawling over the big boulders that lay underneath the mesquite bosque by the parking lot.  The mesquites and creosote bushes were dotted with Verdin, a few Wilson's and Yellow-rumped Warblers, and possibly a few Hammond's Flycatchers (photo on right).

Click image below to view slide-show.

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